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September 19th – 23rd was “Silver Week.”  Three national holidays bunched up with the weekend to form a nice 5 day break.  Well, I had to work Saturday, so my 5 days were actually Sunday through Wednesday + Friday.

Lots of people took it as an opportunity to travel all over the place, even outside Japan.  I don’t know where they get the energy! I only went to Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, a mere two train stations away. ^_^;  I went with two other first year JETs (who had just gone to Nagasaki the day before!).  The place was PACKED! You can click on the pictures below to see them at a larger size.

A bridge on the way to the main shrine

A bridge on the way to the main shrine

Statue of a kirin with two birds

Statue of a kirin with two birds

A kirin is a mythical creature, depicted in Japan as kinda like a dragonish deer.  I don’t know what birds those to its left are supposed to be.  According to Wikipedia, kirin only appear where there is a wise ruler.  Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine was built over the grave of Sugawara no Michizane, a scholar who later became deified as Tenjin.

Hand-washing before entering the shrine

Hand-washing before entering the shrine

Threshhold to the shrine

Threshhold to the shrine

Main shrine building

Main shrine building

Charm for those born in the Year of the Dog

Charm for those born in the Year of the Dog

At Shinto shrines, you can buy various kinds of omamori, or charms.  Some temples have one charm that they’re especially known for.  Dazaifu Tenmangu, being dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane, is known for its charms for luck in academic pursuits.  But they also have all the other standard charms: for health, safety transiting, relationships, protection from calamities, etc.  They also had cute little cell phone strap charms of the Chinese Zodiac, so I bought the doggy at left.  Awww!

After the shrine, we had wanted to go to the Kyuushuu National Museum’s special exhibition of ancient Ashura statues, but there was a 200 minute wait to get in!  We decided we didn’t need to see Ashura that badly and instead went to the mall to see Ballad -名もなき恋のうた- (which translates to something like “Ballad: Love Song That Doesn’t Even Have a Name”).  It’s a movie about a little boy who travels in time (in Japanese they say タイムスリップ, “time slip” lol) to the Warring States Period, only his stuff goes along for the ride.  So you get funny scenes of samurai being astounded by bicycle riding and cell phones.  The ending is a little “huh WTF?!!”-ish, but it was still a good movie.

So, that was my Silver Week Monday.  I didn’t do anything special the other two days.  Tuesday I went to Tsutaya to rent Disc 1 of Heroes Season 3, which just came out here.  Since I missed many episodes in Season 3 it’s convenient. Then I went to get my bike’s flat fixed (yeah, I could do it myself but….aaaaagh). That’s pretty much it.  The Friday I took daikyuu for waiting for the KDDI people to come install my internet, and that’s what I did.

Riveting stuff, eh? ^o^

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